About Port Elizabeth
One of South Africa’s popular seaside towns, Port Elizabeth (PE for short) sits on Algoa Bay on the Sunshine Coast. It’s lapped by the warm Indian Ocean so it’s great for sunbathing, swimming and surfing. It’s also a good base for some excellent wildlife viewing or exploring the desert-like Karoo inland.
Hiring a car is a good idea so you have the freedom to visit the area’s attractions, which are out of the city itself. PE is nicknamed the Windy City, but the locals will have you believe that refers to the frequent but gentle breezes, rather than any real risk of actual gales. It boasts about 300 days of sunshine every year.
South Africa is a GMT +2 hours, with no Daylight Saving Time.
The currency is the Rand and you’re going to get great value for money. ATMs are ubiquitous and credit and debit cards are widely accepted. Foreign currency can be exchanged at bureaux de change, hotels and banks.
Port Elizabeth has excellent sub-tropical weather. Winters are cool to chilly, but the days still reach about 18°C. It can rain in any month, and rain is heaviest during the winter (from June-August). Summer from December to February can bring heat waves of 35°C and warm, balmy nights. Its nickname, the “Windy City”, correctly hints at frequent winds, with a light wind blowing most afternoons. Strong winds can occur in Summer.
South African plugs are a rare breed with three fat round pins, so buy an adaptor at the airport. Many hotels have installed European and UK-style sockets too and keep adaptors at reception.
Mobile networks have the city covered. Roaming calls and data are expensive, so buy a local sim card if you want to make local calls. Take some form of ID with you to do that. There are plenty of free wifi hotspots in cafes and in the hotels, but you’ll find the speeds sluggish if you’re from a first world country.
Buses serve all parts of the city and residential areas and you can get details from the central terminal at Market Square Bus Station. Taxis are available – just phone to make a booking.